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Thread: Warning - Don't let your GPS Route you from Columbus to Ryegate via Rapelje MT

  1. #1
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Black Hills, SD

    Warning - Don't let your GPS Route you from Columbus to Ryegate via Rapelje MT

    Coming out of Red Lodge headed to Great Falls your GPS may try to route you from Columbus MT to Ryegate MT via Rapelje MT.

    If you are on a GS or a GSA and are looking for adventure go ahead and take this route.

    If you are on a street bike or don't want to deal with dirt and gravel avoid this route like the plague.

    The road from Rapelje to 7 miles or so South of Ryegate is a dirt/rough gravel road not friendly to street bikes or street tires.

    DAMHIK, but it can be done with a Yamaha FJR and lots of tire plugs, and an air compressor.

    Plus, the road is impassable to all bikes when wet - especially on the north side of the ridge.

    What kblount said below too!
    Last edited by bigjohnsd; 06-10-2021 at 08:11 PM.
    The only dumb question is the unasked question!

    Team Pterodactyl - When we ride, we ride!

  2. #2
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Big Sky Country
    I learned the same lesson as John, only while headed in the opposite direction. Oddly enough, I was also on an FJR and headed to Red Lodge. Looked like a new and interesting route and it was, but not in a good way; it was worse than John described.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    If you like it rough

    The road from Rapelje to Ryegate (Big Coolee Rd) goes through some fairly remote areas including a high ridge with great views. Nonetheless, road is gravel\dirt and very rough in places and I would not recommend trying it on a road bike. Plus, the road is impassable to all bikes when wet - especially on the north side of the ridge.

    If someone does ride to Rapelje, there are several dirt options for some really fun routes. If a person chooses to ride to the east and then north they'll encounter some extremely remote prairie landscapes and a lot of wildlife. My friends and I have wandered the area (and gotten lost) between Repalje and Melville several times. The roads very from good gravel to very rough two track. More than likely a rider won't encounter another vehicle except possibly a rancher. When we ride here we generally cross Highway 191 and go past Melville and ride north (eastside of the Crazy Mountains) to the town of Two Dot.

    Or, if you decide to go to Ryegate a rider can go north to the south side of the Snowy Mountains. Once you reach the Snowy Mountains a rider can go west to Judith Gap or ride to west and catch Red Hill Road into Lewistown (my preferred route). Both of these routes are on good gravel surfaces.

    If you look at the imagery on Google Maps you'll notice some incredible glacial cirques on the southside of the Snowy Mountains. And, you can ride into the eastern most cirque (Swimming Woman) and camp.

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